Real estate company Related Cos., chaired and founded by Dolphins Owner STEPHEN ROSS, is "one of the approximately eight final groups bidding for Anschutz Entertainment Group," according to financial and other sources cited by Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that several of the bidders "have been previously identified publicly, such as Guggenheim Partners, which initially was eliminated in December and then allowed back into the process," as well as Lakers investor PATRICK SOON-SHIONG. Sources added that the eight groups "were culled from the initial bids due last month, and several of the remaining groups could and are likely to combine." Sources said that AEG, through its "financial adviser Blackstone, is in the midst of management presentations, where the bidders get more in-depth information about the assets than they received previously." A source said that Related is "working with its RSE Ventures unit, which handles Ross’ sports endeavors." An AEG spokesperson declined to comment "other than to say the process is proceeding fine." But the sources said that the process "is going slower than hoped, and an original estimate of a first-quarter sale now would be tough to achieve" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).
People and Pop Culture
The latest episode of NBC's "SNL" wasted no time having fun at the expense of LANCE ARMSTRONG and MANTI TE'O, as they were both "featured" in the show's opening sketch. Cast member TARAN KILLAM portrayed talk show host PIERS MORGAN, with cast member JASON SUDEIKIS playing Armstrong, Morgan’s guest. Morgan said, “Joining me first is a man I consider to be the most despicable, vile human being ever to set foot on planet Earth and I’m so happy to have him.” Armstrong: “I’m excited to be here tonight to apologize to all the viewers out there who couldn’t find the OWN network on their televisions.” Morgan said a lot of people "said that you showed no remorse whatsoever.” Armstrong angrily shouted, “Who said that!? Who!? They're liars, those fat bitches!” Then Armstrong calmed down and said, “I’m totally sorry. That was my fault. I accept full responsibility even though you did provoke me. So the blame is probably 70/30 on you. Also, a lot of the reason I just yelled was because of the cancer I had, which is not an excuse, unless you think it is. The most important thing is I never, ever called anyone a fat bitch.” When asked if he could elaborate on his “sophisticated system of doping,” Armstrong said it was not that sophisticated and added, “All I actually did was steroids, testosterone, human growth hormone, EPO and I replaced all of my blood with better blood. Is that sophisticated? I don’t know. Is it cheating? Maybe. Am I sorry I did it? Yes-ish. PS: No.”
MY MOST IMAGINARY FRIEND: Morgan then introduced Te’o, played by cast member BOBBY MOYNIHAN, who joined the interview via satellite. Te’o said of his girlfriend, “The sad fact is I was the victim of a cruel and senseless hoax.” Morgan said that it “must be devastating to deal with.” Te’o: “It’s even more devastating for my girlfriend, Lennay.” Morgan said, “Lennay was the hoax. She’s not a real person.” Te’o said, “Oh, right, now I get it. Man, Lennay is going to be pissed.” Te’o said of the moment he found out his girlfriend was dead, “A couple months ago she called me up on the phone and she was like, ‘Hey, I have bad news, I’m dead,’ and I said, ‘Oh no, do you need a ride to the funeral?’ But she said, ‘No, it’s okay, my body is being shot out into outer space so you don’t need to show up or ask any questions about it."
MORE LAUGHS: Armstrong and Te'o later were both part of the show's "Weekend Update." Cast member SETH MEYERS said, “This week Lance Armstrong disappointed the last guy on Earth who still believed him.” At that point a photo of Te’o was shown on-screen. More Meyers: “During an interview with Oprah Winfrey Thursday, Lance Armstrong admitted to using banned drugs and blood transfusions to get his seven Tour de France victories, which explains why during his last two races he didn’t even need a bike. It was revealed this week that Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o, who was inspired to have a Heisman-caliber season by the death of his girlfriend, was actually the victim of an online hoax and that the girl never existed, which is not as weird as the fact that a Samoan Mormon who plays football for a Catholic school actually does exist” (“SNL,” NBC, 1/19).
Sabres GM DARCY REGIER “received a contract extension” prior the start of the season. No terms were released. Regier is entering his 16th season with the club (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/19)….Patriots Senior Football Advisor FLOYD REESE “isn’t expected back with the team in 2013” after four seasons with the club. Reese’s “contract is expiring and the decision to move on was described as amicable” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 1/19)….College of Charleston named Clemson Univ. Assistant Dir of Baseball Operations SHAWN BAILEY Assistant Dir of Operations (COC)….IPC Sports Corp. named Sports Authority Founder JACK SMITH to its BOD (IPC Sports)….Outdoor retailer Hi-Tec Sports USA named SIMON BONHAM its new Chief Exec, replacing BRAD GEBHARD, “who was hired around a year ago” (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/18).
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In St. Louis, David Hunn reported Cardinals manager MIKE MATHENY has “lost his court battle with a local bank over a failed real estate investment in the Chesterfield Valley.” Matheny on Friday said that the ruling will cost him “millions of dollars -- potentially his entire net worth.” Court records show that Matheny’s partnership “still owes at least” $4.4M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/19).
CHECKS & BALANCES: Buccaneers coach GREG SCHIANO must pay his former employer Rutgers Univ. by Jan. 26 the $300,000 balance of an interest-free loan he received “to build a multimillion dollar home” in Piscataway, N.J. (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/18)….A regulatory filing showed that Disney President & CEO ROBERT IGER “received total compensation" valued at $40.2M in the last fiscal year, a "20% increase over the prior year” (L.A. TIMES, 1/19).
ON THE SCREEN: Twins BOD Member BILL POHLAD will direct the film “Love & Mercy,” about Beach Boys singer BRIAN WILSON, who “incidentally is a relative” of T'Wolves F KEVIN LOVE (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/20)….Texas Motor Speedway President EDDIE GOSSAGE has “just two lines in the Season 2 premiere” of TNT’s “Dallas” at 9:00pm ET on Jan. 28. In the episode, Gossage “introduces Christopher Ewing (played by JESSE METCALFE) to driver RICKY RUDD” (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 1/20).
MARRIAGE MATTERS: Former U.S. Olympic figure skater MICHELLE KWAN and CLAY PELL, a grandson of the late Sen. CLAIBORNE PELL, were married in Rhode Island on Saturday (AP, 1/20)….Mets 3B DAVID WRIGHT and girlfriend MOLLY BEERS became engaged recently (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21)….IndyCar team Dragon Racing Owner JAY PENSKE, son of IndyCar and NASCAR team Owner ROGER PENSKE, is engaged to model ELAINE IRWIN (N.Y. POST, 1/21)....Former NBAer ALLEN IVERSON finalized his divorce with ex-wife TAWANNA with a $3M buyout (PHILLY.com, 1/21).
NAMES: Power Company of Wyoming, owned by AEG Chair PHIL ANSCHUTZ, is “seeking to build the nation’s largest wind farm and then ship the power to California over a 725-mile transmission line, the longest to be built in decades” (DENVER POST, 1/21)….Fans got to spend Saturday morning in N.Y. with MLB Giants President & CEO LARRY BAER, GM BRIAN SABEAN and Baseball HOFer WILLIE MAYS, as well as the Commissioner’s Trophy. Mays “addressed both the New York Giants Historical Society and the New York Giants Preservation Society and received standing ovations from the crowd” (N.Y. POST, 1/20)….The Pistons yesterday named their press room after late PR Dir MATT DOBEK. The room now “features a mural of Dobek with some of the iconic figures in the team’s history” (DETROIT NEWS, 1/21)….Retired U.S. swimmer MICHAEL PHELPS and Orioles CF ADAM JONES attended the AFC Championship game (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/21)….Model KATHERINE WEBB, girlfriend of Alabama QB A.J. MCCARRON, was overheard saying that she was moving to N.Y. to "pursue a full-time modeling career" (N.Y. POST, 1/21)....Georgia Tech AD MIKE BOBINSKI “will not begin" his duties until April 1. Bobinski has “business to complete at Xavier and is also the chair of the NCAA men’s basketball committee.” Georgia Tech search committee Chair STEVE ZELNAK said that after the committee interviewed five finalists for the AD position, all seven committee members and Georgia Tech President BUD PETERSON “ranked Bobinski first.” Bobinski said, “Professionally for me, this was in an arena that I wanted to return to” (AJC.com, 1/18)….Basketball HOFer BILL RUSSELL was spotted at today’s inauguration (THE DAILY).
IN MEMORY: Quebec journalist and sports commentator RICHARD GARNEAU died yesterday at the age of 82. Garneau covered “more Olympic Games than any other journalist in the world,” reporting “from 23 games throughout the course of his career.” In addition, he was inducted into the Hockey HOF in ’99 (CBC.ca, 1/21)….Former Univ. of Miami baseball coach RON FRASER died yesterday of “complications from Alzheimer’s disease” at the age of 79 (MIAMI HERALD, 1/21).